“I have no skills. How can I get a job without experience?”
Getting a job with no prior experience can be very frustrating for anyone new to the working world. Most entry-level job descriptions often require a solid set of skills in addition to a degree in the required field, making it difficult for fresh graduates to land that first job they need to boost their experience and kick-start their career.
In fact, one of the most frequently asked questions by first-time job seekers is, “How can I get a job without experience?” However, there are some ways to gain the skills which will get you hired in the field you are looking to start your career in.
Below are three tips to help you improve your chances of getting a job with no experience:
Volunteering is one of the quickest and easiest ways of building experience, and it’s a sure-fire way to boost your employability—especially if you have no relevant experience in your intended job area. What a volunteering experience lack in financial compensation, it makes up for with a host of sought-after transferable skills. Volunteering can give you abilities such as teamwork, communication, commitment, and time management, among others.
While non-profits or charitable organizations are generally the best bet when looking for volunteer experience, it is possible to find volunteer opportunities in any field. For example, sometimes Universities allow recent science graduates to volunteer in their research labs; this way they get free, educated labor and you get practical skills towards a professional career.
Internships are a slightly better option than volunteering, as they provide a more structured approach to building the experience needed by first-time job seekers. Although internships can be paid or unpaid, they’re incredibly useful for building a network of contacts. They also teach you the ins and outs specifically within the job position, and they usually offer more access and insight to the internal process of a company than volunteering positions do.
Oftentimes, internships can lead to employment within the organization you are working with, or they can help you find employment elsewhere by putting in a good reference for you.
When you’re starting out with no experience, who you know can be just as important as what you know. A recommendation from a personal contact to an employer can go a long way in securing an employment. But how do you build up a network of contacts if you’re struggling to enter the world of work?
Traditional face-to-face style networking is still one of the most effective ways to get a job without experience, as it leaves a much stronger impression on the people you are connecting with. That’s why you should take part in some of those career fairs, lectures, and local human-rights events offered by your university.
If you have already graduated, contact the nearest university and ask if you can participate in their career development events—you would be surprised how often they say yes! Reach out to current or past professors and ask if they have any connections or suggestions on your job search, regardless if you have no skills; focus instead on your past studies and your strengths as a person.
Even sitting your professors down for a brief chat by buying them a cup of coffee can make a strong impact on them, making you the first person they think of when the next job offer comes up.
Another effective way of building and maintaining your professional network is through social media. With advancements in technology, networking has never been easier on social media.
Maintaining a professional profile on social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and connecting with organizations and individuals in your chosen field, can lead to referrals and potentially a job offer. In recent months, LinkedIn has rolled out its own job search feature, wherein companies can post job offers directly to the sight.
This allows users to not only search potential listings but view how many “connections” they have with the hiring company. You might find out that the HR position you were interested in is actually run by your friend’s cousin! Being aware of the connections listed and regularly keeping contact with those in your network—even if it’s merely alike and a comment on their most recent job/life update— is a great way to maintain relationships for when jobs present themselves.